Posts Tagged ‘loneliness’

Freedom or loneliness

This one really has me thinking.. sometimes, it feels like freedom; at other times, it has a hint of loneliness.



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Rainer Maria Rilke on 'Solitude'

Rainer Maria Rilke on ‘Solitude’

The first time I heard about Rainer Maria Rilke and his book ‘Letters to a Young Poet‘ was when I watched Sister Act II. In the movie, Sister Marie Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg) shares a quote from this book when giving it to Rita (Lauryn Hill). I bought the book from Strand Book Store when I was in NYC in 2008. It’s still with me.

Solitude.. I love this word. It has fascinated me for so long. What is solitude? Solitude, Seclusion, Isolation, Loneliness.. what’s the difference?

Solitude (as defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

1: the quality or state of being alone or remote from society : seclusion
2: a lonely place (as a desert)

Synonyms: solitude, isolation, seclusion mean the state of one who is alone. solitude may imply a condition of being apart from all human beings or of being cut off by wish or circumstances from one’s usual associates <a few quiet hours of solitude>. isolation stresses detachment from others often involuntarily <the isolation of the village in winter>. seclusion suggests a shutting away or keeping apart from others often connoting deliberate withdrawal from the world or retirement to a quiet life <lived in pastoral seclusion>.

I also found this at Psychology Today:

Loneliness is marked by a sense of isolation. Solitude, on the other hand, is a state of being alone without being lonely and can lead to self-awareness.

It is possible to be with people and still feel lonely—perhaps the most bitter form of loneliness. Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company.

Solitude is something you choose. Loneliness is imposed on you by others.

Solitude restores body and mind. Loneliness depletes them.

I agree. I have experienced and enjoyed solitude as a lone traveler. Traveling alone allows us to detach ourselves from all the routine things – by being away from the familiar surroundings (through travel) and by being away from the people who usually surround us (by traveling alone). These moments of solitude always bring a sense of calm & peace. They have also helped me gain perspective on many things – professional & personal. Many a times people think we’re being aloof while all we’re looking for is some solitude, a chance to be quiet (at least externally, as there’s still too much noise within). At such times, I don’t even feel the need to explain. I just keep quiet. Leave me alone for sometime please. Let me ‘be’.

How has your experience been? Do share.

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